W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-tt@w3.org > February 2003

RE: TT and subtitling

From: <Johnb@screen.subtitling.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 2003 15:34:21 -0000
Message-ID: <11E58A66B922D511AFB600A0244A722E6C6024@NTMAIL>
To: geoff_freed@wgbh.org, public-tt@w3.org
Cc: glenn@xfsi.com

Geoff Freed wrote:

	> John's definitions are slightly different than those used in North

> >> Sorry, in subtitling the start of presentation of a subtitle is
> referred to
> >> as its on-air (or in-cue), the time at which the subtitle is removed
> from
> >> display is the off-air (or out-cue). 
	> Here, we use in-time and out-time (or erase time), although the
effect is the same.

> >> On-air and off-air are probably more
> >> correctly used when talking about Open subtitling (where the subtitle
> is
	>> burnt in to the video image prior to transmission) - 

I should have added "In the UK and Europe...." :-)

	> At some point, the working group must adopt a standard definition
of "caption" vs
	> "subtitle" to prevent international confusion.  What John is
calling subtitles is what
	> we call captions:  the textual representation of speech and
non-speech information
	> (such as sound effects) in the same language as the audio.
Captions are for deaf and
	> hard-of-hearing people, and can be closed (viewable with a decoder
only) or open
	> (visible to everyone, no decoder necessary).  

	> In NA, subtitles are a textual translation of the audio into a
different language. 
	> Subtitles are for hearing people; as such, they don't always
contain the information
	> required by deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers, such as sound-effect

Geoff is absolutely correct in that NA makes a stronger differentiation
between Hard of Hearing captioning and Language translation subtitling.
Although the term captioning is sometimes used in the UK, the tendency is to
refer to all text representation of speech as "subtitling" - and to
distinguish the equivalent of  NA captioning as "subtitling for the hard of
hearing" or "own language subtitling".

There are other differences between NA captioning and UK/European subtitling
(including hard of hearing subtitling). In the UK it is I believe more
common to use Snake and Add-on modes for subtitles. Also generally
subtitling enjoys a higher data rate in UK/Europe, as hard of hearing
subtitling is predominantly carried in Teletext (which allows more bytes per
video frame). Language translation subtitling is carried in both Teletext
and DVB bitmap. (It is uncommon for DVB to carry hard of hearing

I'm not sure we need get to concerned about defining captioning vs
subtitling, since TT should be agnostic to the 'higher' meaning of the text
being transmitted :-) I would suggest that the terms subtitle and caption do
not appear in the TT standard - since both carry a number of connotations.
(In the UK a caption is the label to a picture).

regards John Birch

The views and opinions expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily
reflect the views and opinions of the Screen Subtitling Systems Limited.
Received on Monday, 3 February 2003 10:26:45 UTC

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